Police Services

On behalf of local governments, UBCM engages on a range of issues that affect police services in BC:

RCMP Labour Relations


In January 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada, as part of its decision in Mounted Police Association of Ontario v Canada (Attorney General), ruled that the exclusion of the RCMP from the Public Sector Labour Relations Act violated the RCMP’s right to freedom of association. It subsequently ruled that the RCMP had the right to collective bargaining, similar to other members of the public service. Previously, RCMP members were not entitled to unionize. Public Safety Canada was given until May 2016 to introduce new legislation.

In March 2016, the federal government introduced Bill C-7, intended to create a new labour relations structure for RCMP members and reservists. Taking into account RCMP members’ preferences, the proposed legislation included collective bargaining rights, with binding arbitration as the method of dispute resolution.

The Senate passed Bill C-7 in June 2016 with several amendments; the amendments necessitate that the House of Commons re-consider the amended legislation. The amendments included broadening the scope of bargaining talks, providing a secret ballot decision when a bargaining agent comes forward to be certified, and addition of activities/grievances that may go before an arbitrator. As of March 27, 2017, the House of Commons still has not passed Bill C-7. While local governments already assume the majority of policing costs, they have been given limited opportunity to provide input to the process of creating a new labour relations regime.

UBCM to Public Safety Canada re: Local Government Concerns with Bill C-7 [PDF - 132 KB] – April 2017
City of Revelstoke to Public Safety Canada re: Labour Relations Model [PDF - 108 KB] – Jan 2016
Public Safety Canada to Local Governments re: Labour Relations Feedback [PDF - 413 KB] – Jan 2016

RCMP Contract Management Committee Update – Dec 2016
Update on National Contract Management Committee – June 2016
RCMP Contract Management Committee Update – June 2016

Auxiliary Constable Program

Auxiliary Constables are unarmed, uniformed volunteers whose primary purpose is to participate in community policing and crime prevention activities. The RCMP Auxiliary Constable Program [PDF - 56 KB] has existed in British Columbia for over 50 years, and is governed by provincial policy, although general policy guidelines are issued by National Headquarters (Ottawa). Approximately half of all Canadian Auxiliary Constables are located in British Columbia.

Since Fall 2014, the RCMP Auxiliary Constable Program has been undergoing a safety review. Brought on by fatal incidents in Ottawa and Edmonton, this review sought to evaluate and amend the Program in a way that protected members and mitigated other safety risks. The following recommendations have been implemented:

  • discontinuation of ride-alongs and firearms familiarization training (effective Jan 2016);
  • development of a national activity matrix outlining the duties of Auxiliary Constables;
  • commitment to instituting a National Training Standard;
  • review of uniform options; and
  • updating the national policy.

In April 2016, the Province conducted its own review of the Auxiliary Constable Program, seeking feedback from local governments through UBCM. Details and results of the review will be made available as soon as they are released.

In October 2016, based on input received during previous consultation processes, RCMP National Crime Prevention Services developed several options regarding the future of the Auxiliary Constable Program. These options include maintaining the Auxiliary Constable Program in its current form; only allowing Auxiliary Constables to participate in community policing activities; or developing a tiered system where the first tier would resemble option 2, with the third tier somewhat resembling the pre-January 2016 system.

UBCM was not permitted by the RCMP to share a detailed options paper with local governments. A survey conducted by UBCM revealed that 91% of local government respondents preferred Option 3 (Tiered Program), in part because of the flexibility it would provide local governments and detachments in setting Auxiliary Constable service levels. UBCM formally recommended to the RCMP that Option 3 be implemented, as well as improvements to the consultation process with local governments. On December 22, 2016, the RCMP announced that it would move to a tiered model, consistent with the results of UBCM’s member survey. This new model will allow divisions and contract partners to choose one or a mixture of tiers based on local needs and circumstances.

UBCM to Province re: RCMP Auxiliary Constable Program Options Paper [PDF - 737 KB] – Nov 2016
UBCM to RCMP re: Auxiliary Constable Program Review [PDF - 193 KB] – Oct 2016

RCMP to Implement Tiered Auxiliary Constable Model – Jan 2017
UBCM Members Favour Tiered Auxiliary Constable Program – Nov 2016
RCMP Seeking Input on Auxiliary Constable Program – Oct 2016
Provincial Review of Auxiliary Constable Program – Apr 2016

Police Funding

British Columbia’s Police Act specifies that municipalities with populations over 5,000 people must assume responsibility for their police services. Under the 20-year Provincial Police Service Agreement (PPSA), those with populations of 5,000 – 14,999 are responsible for 70% of the cost base, while those with populations of 15,000 or greater are responsible for 90% of the cost base. Municipalities under 5,000 people and unincorporated areas are required to pay the Police Tax, which covers a portion of the costs incurred by the Province to police those areas.

UBCM received correspondence in February 2016 from the provincial Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, broadly outlining a provincial offer to discuss police funding in British Columbia, and in particular a new method for funding municipalities under 5,000.

The UBCM President responded with a request for information regarding the impetus for the Province to consider a police funding review, and also provided clarification of UBCM’s policy regarding police resources. Minister Morris then met with UBCM regarding the issue, and issued a formal response clarifying the Province’s rationale for such a review.

Province to UBCM re: Police Funding [PDF - 989 KB] – May 2016
UBCM to Province re: Police Funding [PDF - 90 KB] – Mar 2016
Province to UBCM re: Police Funding [PDF - 589 KB] – Feb 2016

Province Considers Police Funding Review – Apr 2016

RCMP Contract Five Year Review

In accordance with article 22 of the Provincial Police Service Agreement (PPSA), Canada and the Provinces and Territories may use a Five Year Review mechanism to analyze and address substantive issues arising out of the implementation of the PPSA. Article 21.1 of the Municipal Police Unit Agreement (MPUA) dictates that amendments resulting from the review will be applicable to, and binding on, the MPUA.

Since Summer 2015, UBCM has worked with the Province to solicit feedback in order to best represent local government interests to the federal government. Articles were published in UBCM’s weekly newsletter, The Compass; and the Local Government Contact Management Committee (LGCMC) Co-Chairs sent a letter directly to mayors of impacted municipalities.

A final report on local government feedback was submitted to the Province in February 2016. The submission, made on behalf of local governments, noted trends in requests for changes or additions to police service agreements.

In a subsequent meeting between the Province and UBCM, the Province raised the process of bringing forward items relevant to the Five Year Review. It was proposed to organize the issues identified by local governments into different categories:

  • issues of national relevance;
  • issues outside the scope of the Five Year Review, but possible to advance at the LGCMC table; and
  • items within the Province’s purview (the Province has committed to addressing all issues identified by local governments, including those outside the scope of the Five Year Review)

In accordance with the RCMP policing agreement, the federal government and its provincial/territorial partners have until April 2017 to complete this review.

UBCM Submission to Province re: Five Year Review of RCMP Agreements [PDF - 558 KB] – Feb 2016
Province to UBCM re: Five Year Review of RCMP Agreements [PDF - 255 KB] – Mar 2016
UBCM to Affected Mayors re: Five Year Review of RCMP Agreements [PDF - 66 KB] – Dec 2015

RCMP Contract Management Committee Update – Dec 2016
RCMP Five Year Review Update – June 2016
Local Government Feedback on RCMP Contract – Feb 2016
Final Deadline for RCMP Contract Feedback – Jan 2016
Deadline Nearing to Submit RCMP Contract Feedback – Sep 2015
Update on National RCMP Contract Management Committee – June 2015

Costs for DNA Analysis Services

DNA analysis is done in labs of the national police service and is a federal function that supports policing across Canada. These services are not funded through the RCMP contract, but are provided instead through a separate agreement between the federal and provincial orders of government. In 2015, the provincial and federal governments reached a new agreement, under which the federal government achieved its objective of having users pay actual costs, instead of a flat rate. The parties agreed that after a three-year ramp up, the provinces and territories as service users would pay 54%, and the federal government 46% of the total costs based on proportionate usage.

With the new agreement in place, the Province unilaterally—without consultation or notice to local governments—applied a funding formula that would allow the Province to maintain its historical contribution while transferring the majority of actual costs to local governments with populations greater than 5,000. With DNA costs projected to rise 127% from 2014/15 to 2019/20, the percentage and total amount paid by local governments is set to rise.

The Province provided no advance notice to UBCM or to local governments, and instead, distributed invoices under the new funding formula to municipalities, starting in early November 2015. Since then, UBCM has advocated for a reversal of these charges on several grounds, primarily taking issue with lack of due process and fairness.

UBCM to Province re: DNA Analysis Costs to Local Governments [PDF - 92 KB] – Jan 2016
Province (Minister Fassbender) to UBCM re: DNA Analysis Costs to Local Governments [PDF - 372 KB] – Jan 2016
Province (Minister Morris) to UBCM re: DNA Analysis Costs to Local Governments [PDF - 1.1 MB] – Jan 2016
UBCM to Province re: DNA Analysis Costs to Local Governments [PDF - 100 KB] – Dec 2015

Minister Morris Responds to UBCM Regarding DNA Costs – Feb 2016
Download of DNA Costs a “Made in BC” Problem – Dec 2015
Justice Minister’s Statement on DNA Costs – Dec 2015
UBCM Calls on Province to Reverse Cost Shift to Local Governments – Dec 2015
DNA Analysis Costs Shifting to Local Governments – Nov 2015

Billing Statistics: DNA Analysis Services
DNA Analysis Services Billing Forecast 2014/15-2019/20 [PDF - 42 KB]
BC DNA Analysis Services Billing Projections for 2016/17 [PDF - 84 KB]

External Resources on Police Services

BC Policing and Community Safety Plan
Policing Agreements
Police Resources in BC
Policing Legislation in BC


Bhar Sihota
Policy Analyst
604 270 8226 ext. 114

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